Saturday, May 31, 2014

off to buy mustard...

only kidding, but we did start our barge cruise in Dijon!  we arrived on Sunday late late afternoon and met the crew... we were first off the bus and hugged Anna and Cyrille and settled in for a welcome kir royale. The crew put our bags in cabins and then each couple in turn went to our cabin to learn the ropes of the accommodations.  The barge is spectacular! 100% five star luxury.  King bed- plenty of drawers and closet space and lots of hangers.  A full size bathroom with what turned out to be fabulous water pressure in the showers and towels changed virtually every time you left your cabin... Six glorious nights in this luxury mode... we had no trouble adjusting.

after unpacking we all headed back upstairs to our briefing- and learned that we have life jackets in our cabins in case of the sinking of the barge but that if it sinks we will only have to stand on our beds to avoid getting wet- the canals are shallow (which is why -we later learn- the boat has a 7 inch draft LOL)

if there is fire go to the sun deck in the front because a fire would most likely be in the kitchen (other end of the barge) or the engine (ditto)

they give us the general schedule for each day and we meet the entire crew- Anna- captain; Stephane the pilot; Cyrille the chef; hostesses Marie and Teresa; and first mate Chris (the rookie of the crew and an Englishman to boot!)

the bar is always open and everything is included in the price of the trip- all the incredible gourmet meals, wines, cheeses and the dinner out at the three star Michelin restaurant in Chagny as well as all tours to wineries, towns and villages, tastings etc...

the boat has bicycles on board for use when we are on the canals and have options to walk or ride between locks along the way... the shortest distance between locks is .4 of a mile and the longest is 3 miles.... for the next five days we will be cruising at a speed slower than normal walking pace... so relax- we are in no hurry and have virtually no time table.

we are eventually called to the table for our first meal together- Anna introduces the wines and Cyrille the menu - eventually we get to the cheese course (which is always introduced by one of our lovely hostesses Marie or Teresa) and then dessert and after dinner drinks in the lounge....

so here are some photos so you will know just how truthful I have been in my descriptions- starting with three views of the living area (bar/lounge/salon)

the sundeck - the place with all the views of the canal and a lovely relaxing reading area-

the dining room (at dinner we all ate at one long table - for breakfast and lunch there were three tables of four) Dinner was full service - breakfast and lunch were buffets- with breakfast being served over several hours and lunch at a set time for the whole group of 12 passengers...

then our cabins- decked out with carved wood paneling and granite/marble table tops and counters- it truly could not have been nicer- and what was even more spoiling was the fact that every time we left our cabin for an activity one of the hostesses would come and change out damp towels and empty garbage- it was stupendous service!

the view from one of our two "porthole" windows -

the area where we docked the first night- (this was another barge docked nearby- our barge was navy blue on the bottom and taupe/beige on the top- as you will see later in photos taken from the canal side)

later in the evening- the same views-

our welcome drinks kir royale made with creme de cassis and the cocktail hour wine-

the dinner menu-

the cheese course was always introduced with detailed explanation of the source and affinage- and served with the first cheese to eat at 6 o'clock on the plate with the two others following in order at 9 and 12--- and we always had lovely fruit and crackers or breads as well as a freshly tossed green incredibly civilized! LOL

we have a map for the upcoming "voyage" and here is the first segment - followed by the shank of the evening - LOL with CBGB winding down before we all headed down to our luxurious cabins and a restful sleep... breakfast at 9 AM - LOL see you there - tables have already been set by Marie and Teresa...

tomorrow's journey will take us to Longecourt en Plaine - a huge distance of roughly  11 miles LOL- no kidding - less than 20km...

see you tomorrow for the first leg of our "sailing" LOL---

PS- here are some photos I rephoto-ed from the brochure in case they were better views than I got with mine- LOL

we were cabin B and CBGB were next door in cabin C-

stay tuned- a lot more good food and drink - and a few sights along the way too!

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